QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP for Kingston and the Islands Ian Arthur was joined by Kingston parent Kelly McGarry today during Question Period, to speak out against the Ford government’s callous cuts to autism services. Kelly’s nine-year-old son Braedon has autism, and the family had to wait nearly two years for Braedon to receive intensive treatment. While that treatment has proven life-changing for Braedon, the Ford government’s cuts mean that, come April, Braedon’s family will only get a fraction of the amount needed to cover it.
"Families like Kelly’s were forced to spend years on wait lists while their children fell behind, not getting the supports they so badly needed to progress,” said Arthur. “They were let down by the Liberals, no question. Now, Doug Ford is making things so much worse, cutting the funding that was available to each child, and thereby eliminating the light at the end of the tunnel for so many families waiting for treatment.”
Earlier this month, the Ford Conservatives shocked and outraged families by capping total direct funding available to children under six at just $20,000 per year, and at $5,000 for children aged six and over. With families typically paying about $70,000 annually for their child's intensive autism therapy, the Ford government's allotment is nowhere close to sufficient. And families must have a household income of less than $55,000 to even qualify for the top end of these very limited amounts, meaning many will be left with less.
The McGarry’s are now at a loss. Kelly’s husband already gave up a professional career to care for Braedon, and the family has remortgaged their home. “I don’t know what else we can do,” Kelly said.
Arthur said families deserve so much better than a government that cuts vital supports to children with autism.
“New Democrats will continue to partner with families and push back against these cuts. We need to invest more into autism services, and give families the resources they need to access evidence-based solutions that put the needs of children first.”
Kelly was among about 200 people representing families from throughout the province who joined the Official Opposition Wednesday at Queen’s Park to take their stories straight to the Ford government — all families with a child with autism, all devastated by Ford’s cut to autism funding.